The Reserve

Elephant and buffalo gather around a waterhole

Welcome to the official website of the Madikwe Game Reserve. Madikwe is one of the largest reserves in South Africa – 75 000 hectares of pristine, malaria-free bushveld located in the North West Province, just a three-and-a-half hour drive from Johannesburg or Pretoria.

The reserve is well known for its abundant wildlife (including the 'Madikwe Top 10') and diversity of habitats, ranging from the perennial Marico River, to its large open plains, woodlands, steep cliffs and boulder-strewn koppies, and the Dwarsberg Mountains which stretch across the southern border.

All private guest lodges offer visitors a unique and personalised bush adventure, going every extra mile to ensure their Madikwe memories linger for years to come. There are no day-visitor facilities and the reserve is only open to those who have made a booking at one of the lodges, which ensures that all guests are able to enjoy an exclusive safari experience.

Prior to the reserve’s proclamation in 1991, the area consisted of largely-degraded cattle farms. A feasibility study commissioned and conducted by Settlement Planning Services (Setplan) showed that developing the area into a game reserve, linked to wildlife-based tourism development, was the most efficient form of land use and the most beneficial to the local communities.

Taking in one of Madikwe's gorgeous views

Madikwe has the distinction of being one of the few game reserves in the world to be proclaimed purely on these grounds. It is run as a joint venture between the North West Parks and Tourism Board, the private sector and local communities, and the success of this approach has made Madikwe the role model for similar ventures being started up elsewhere in South Africa.

Now, thousands of healthy animals have been released into the reserve, including elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion, cheetah, African wild dog (Madikwe is the first fenced reserve where wild dog were released), spotted hyena, giraffe, zebra and many species of antelope and herbivores. Leopard already occurred on the land before it was fenced off.

Madikwe also boasts an incredible 350 bird species, making the reserve a paradise for any enthusiastic birdwatcher.